tv International Programming CSPAN October 4, 2010 12:00am-12:30am EDT
48 hours of people and events telling the american story. all weekend, every weekend on american history tv on c-span3. >> now, newly elected labour party leader ed miliband speaking to his party conference in manchester, england. . this is a little over an hour. [applause] [laughter] friends, it is 72 hours since i became the leader of this party
and i want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the support and warmth you have given me. i want to thank you for all the advice you have given, some of it unsolicited. ed, remember to smile, but not too much. look serious, but not too serious. thank you in particular to the delegate who said to me, look, given your reputation, i think it is time to give the red ties a rest. i am incredibly honored you have chosen me to lead this party. david, i want to say to you, i have always known what an extraordinary person you are. and now you have again shown to everyone else with the graciousness you have shown since saturday, and the extraordinary and inspiring speech you made yesterday, what an extraordinary person you are, thank you.
conference, let me scotch a myth about david and me right away. some people might think i might be more left-wing than him. it certainly was not true when we were kids. i will never forget the day i stole his football. and you know, he was so angry with me, he nationalized my train set. that is the kind of household we grew up in. let me also take this opportunity to thank our fantastic deputy leader, harriet harman. when i was younger, you gave me my first taste of responsibility in politics.
you asked me to look after your bag. i was your bag carrier. i will always remember our first conference together nearly 20 years ago in 1993. you told me to see conference as a chance to seek new horizons. i spent the first day looking for idealism. the second day looking for inspiration. and days 3, 4 and 5, were spent looking for harriet's coat, which she had mislaid on day one. you will be a fantastic deputy, thank you for all you do for this party. let me pay tribute also to two of our longest serving colleagues and friends of mine
who are standing down from the shadow cabinet. alistair darling, who kept his cool amidst one of the worst economic storms in our economic history. [applause] alistair, you will always be remembered for the way you steered britain through that crisis, thank you for what you did. and jack straw. one of the most loyal servants of our party. [applause] jack is labor to his core and he is blackburn to his core. and jack, i want to take this opportunity to apologies to you for the occasional impertinence of the younger generation. there was this moment around the cabinet table when tim berners-lee, the man who invented the world wide web, came and spoke to us and jack was quite overcome by this moment. he said, it is like meeting the man who invented the wheel.
and i am afraid i piped up and said, what was that like, jack? i apologies. i gather it wasn't the man who invented the wheel, it was the man who discovered fire. i do apologies. conference, i stand here today ready to lead: a new generation now leading labor. be in no doubt. the new generation of labor is different. different attitudes, different ideas, different ways of doing politics. today i want to tell you who i am, what i believe and how we are going to do the most important thing we have to do -- win back the trust of the country. we all of us share a deep conviction which brought us into this party and into this hall. but each of us has our own individual story.
and i want to tell you about mine. in 1940, my grandfather, with my dad, climbed onto one of the last boats out of belgium. they had to make a heart breaking decision to leave behind my grandmother and my father's sister. they spent the war in hiding, in a village sheltered by a brave local farmer. month after month, year upon year, they lived in fear of the knock at the door. at the same time, on the other side of europe, my mother, aged five, had seen hitler's army march into poland. she spent the war on the run sheltering in a convent and then with a catholic family that took her in.
her sister, her mother and her. my love for this country comes from this story. two young people fled the darkness that had engulfed the jews across europe and in britain they found the light of liberty. they arrived with nothing. this country gave them everything. it gave them life and the things that make life worth living: hope, friendship, opportunity and family. and they took hope and opportunity. they worked hard; they got on. my dad learnt english, paid his way moving furniture during the day, and studying at night at technical college. he joined the navy to fight for our country and afterwards he wanted to go to university. he did. my mum built a life here after the war, for all of us.
i know nobody more generous, nobody more kind, nobody more loving and nobody more relieved that this is contest is over, than my mum. [applause] the gift my parents gave to me and david are the things i want for every child in this country. a secure and loving home. encouragement and the aspiration to succeed. in those ways my family was just like every other. but in some ways it was different. i suppose not everyone has a dad who wrote a book saying he didn't believe in the parliamentary road to socialism. but you know, it wasn't a cold house. it was warm, full of the spirit of argument and conviction, the conviction that leads me to stand before you today, the
conviction that people of courage and principle can make a huge difference to their world. what my parents learnt in fear, they passed on to us in an environment of comfort and security. and there was one more lesson that i learnt. we do not have to accept the world as we find it. and we have a responsibility to leave our world a better place and never walk by on the other side of injustice. [applause] freedom and opportunity are precious gifts and the purpose of our politics is to expand them, for all our people. that faith is not something i chose. it's not something i learned
from books, even from my dad's books. it was something i was born into. and that is why david and i have devoted our lives to politics. and it is why i will commit to you here and now. my beliefs will run through everything i do. my beliefs, my values are my anchor and when people try to drag me, as i know they w ill, it is to that sense of right and wrong, that sense of who i am and what i believe, to which i will always hold. conference, i am so honored that you chose me to lead your party and i know you share those values. and i am proud that every day, day in and day out, in every village, and every town and city in the land, you work to put those values into practice. conference, can i thank you for the heroic work you did at the election.
the reason we denied the conservative party a majority was because of the incredible work of labor and trade union members the length and breadth of our country. from birmingham edgbaston to westminster north and from edinburgh south to the vale of clwyd, it was your dedication, your energy and your determination to fight for the communities you love that beat the ashcroft millions. and let me thank everyone, not just labor party members, but thousands of ordinary members of the public who drove the bnp out of barking and dagenham. but let's face facts. we had a bad result.
we had a very bad result. and we are out of government. and let me tell you, there is nothing good about opposition. every day out of power, another day when this coalition can wreak damage on our communities, another day when we cannot change our country for the better. and let us resolve today that this will be a one-term government. that is the purpose of my leadership of this party. but to achieve that we must go
on our own journey. and that is why the most important word in politics for us is humility. we need to learn some painful truths about where we went wrong and how we lost touch. we must not blame the electorate for ending up with a government we don't like, we should blame ourselves. we have to understand why people felt they couldn't support us. we have to show we understand the problems people face today. this will require strong leadership. it won't always be easy. you might not always like what i have to say. but you've elected me leader and lead i will. this country faces some tough choices. and so do we. and we need to change. you remember.
we began as restless and radical. remember the spirit of 1997, but by the end of our time in office we had lost our way. the most important lesson of new labor is this: every time we made progress we did it by challenging the conventional wisdom. think of how we took on the idea that there was a public ownership solution to every problem our society faced. we changed clause 4. we were right to do so. think of how we emphasized being tough on crime was as important as being tough on the causes of crime. we were right to do so. think of how we challenged the impression that we taxed for its own sake and that we were hostile to business. we were right to change. and think of how we challenged the idea of a male dominated parliament with all-women shortlists and made the cause of gender equality central to our government.
we were right to do so. and the reason tony and gordon took on conventional wisdom in our party was so they could change the country. we forget too easily what a radical challenge their ideas were to established ways of thinking about britain and how they reshaped the centre-ground of politics. they were reforming, restless and radical. the old way of thinking said that economic efficiency would always come at the price of social justice. with the minimum wage, tax credits, the new deal, they showed that was wrong. i am proud that our government lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, hundreds of thousands of pensioners out of poverty, proud that we created the highest levels of employment in britain's history. [applause]
the old way of thinking said that public services would always be second-class. but we defied the conventional wisdom. i come from a generation that suffered school lessons in portacabins and crumbling hospitals. i tell you one thing, for the eighteen years they were in power the tories did nothing to fix the roof when the sun was shining. our legacy is a generation for whom newly built schools and modernized hospitals are an everyday fact of life. i am proud of the fact that because of what we did, yes we
did save the national health service in this country. the old way of thinking said that you couldn't change attitudes towards gay men and lesbians. let me tell you that last month i was privileged to be in this great city, at pride, to see not just thousands of people marching but thousands of people lining the street in support. we should be proud that our commitment to equality means we have couples forming civil
partnerships across the country and celebrating with t heir family and friends. the old thinking told us that for 300 years, the choice was either the break up of the united kingdom or scotland and wales run from london. we should be proud that labor established the scottish parliament and the welsh assembly. and we should make sure that after next may's elections we re-elect carwyn jones as the first minister in wales and we elect iain gray as the new first minister in scotland. [applause] and i am so so proud that, against all the odds, we helped deliver peace in northern ireland. and it will be one of tony
blair's great legacies to this country. [applause] the old thinking told us that the challenges of the world were too big and our country too small to make a difference. but thanks to our leadership around the world, development spending is now heading towards our goal, forty million more children are going to school each day, and two hundred million are protected from malaria. and that would never have happened without the leadership of gordon brown as chancellor and then prime minister. [applause] tony and gordon had the courage to take on established
attitudes and institutions -- and change britain. it is that courage that made us such a successful political force. but our journey must also understand where it went wrong. i tell you, i believe that britain is fairer and stronger than it was 13 years ago. but we have to ask, how did a party with such achievements to its name end up losing five million votes between 1997 and 2010? it didn't happen by accident. the hard truth for all of us in this hall is that a party that started out taking on old thinking became the prisoner of its own certainties. the world was changing all around us -- from global finance to immigration to terrorism -- new labor, a
political force founded on its ability to adapt and change lost its ability to do so. the reason was that we too often bought old, established ways of thinking and over time we just looked more and more like a new establishment. let me say to the country: you saw the worst financial crisis in a generation, and i understand your anger that labor hadn't changed the old ways in the city which said deregulation was the answer. you wanted your concerns about the impact of immigration on communities to be heard, and i understand your frustration that we didn't seem to be on your side. and when you wanted to make it possible for your kids to get on in life, i understand why you felt that we were stuck in old thinking about higher and higher levels of personal debt, including from tuition fees. you saw jobs disappear and economic security undermined, i understand your anger at a labor government that claimed it could end boom and bust. and i understand also that the promise of new politics of 1997
came to look hollow after the scandal of mps' expenses. and we came to look like a new establishment in the company we kept, the style of our politics and our remoteness from people. [applause] i stand before you, clear in my task: to once again make labor a force that takes on established thinking, doesn't succumb to it, speaks for the majority and shapes the centre ground of politics. and i tell you this: if we are not this party, nobody will be.
this new generation that leads our party is humble about our past and idealistic about our future. it is a generation that will always stand up for the mainstream majority. it is a generation that will fight for the centre ground, not allow it to be dominated or defined by our opponents. [applause] and it is a generation which thirsts for change. this week we embark on the journey back to power. it will be a long journey involving hard thinking for our party. we do not start that journey by claiming we know all the answers now. we do so by setting a direction of change. let me tell you what kind of country i want to see: this generation wants to change our economy so that it works better for working people and doesn't just serve the needs of the few at the top. this generation wants to change our society so that it values community and family, not just work, because we understand
there is more to life than the bottom line. this generation wants to change the way government works because it understands the power of the state to change lives but also how frustrating it can be if not reformed. this generation wants to change our foreign policy so that it's always based on values, not just alliances. and this generation knows very profoundly that to change britain we need a new politics. above all, i lead a new generation not bound by the fear or the ghosts of the past. as we emerge from the global economic crisis, we face a choice: we can return to business as usual or we ca n challenge old thinking to build the new economy we need. let me say, i believe strongly that we need to reduce the deficit. there will be cuts and there would have been if we had been in government.
some of them will be painful and would have been if we were in government. i won't oppose every cut the coalition proposes. there will be some things the coalition does that we won't like as a party but we will have to support. and come the next election there will be some things they have done that i will not be able to reverse. i say this because the fiscal credibility we earned before 1997 was hard won and we must win it back by the time of the next general election. i am serious about reducing our deficit. but i am also serious about doing it in a way that learns the basic lessons of economics, fairness and history. economics teaches us that at times of recession governments run up deficits. we were too exposed to financial services as an economy
so the impact of the crash on the public finances was deeper on us than on others. we should take responsibility for not building a more resilient economy. but what we should not do as a country is make a bad situation worse by embarking on deficit reduction at a pace and in a way that endangers our recovery. [applause] the starting point for a responsible plan is to halve the deficit over 4 years, but growth is our priority and we must remain vigilant against a
downturn. you see when you cancel thousands of new school buildings at a stroke, it isn't just bad for our kids, it's bad for construction companies at a time when their order books are empty. it's not responsible, it's irresponsible. when you deprive sheffield forgemasters of a loan, a loan from government which would be paid back, you deprive britain of the ability to lead the world in new technology. it's not responsible, it's irresponsible. and when you reduce your economic policy simply to deficit reduction alone you leave britain without a plan for growth. it's not responsible, it's irresponsible and we should say
so. no plan for growth means no credible plan for deficit reduction. and nor should we reduce the deficit without learning the basic lessons of fairness. we must protect those on middle and low incomes. they did nothing to cause the crisis but are suffering the consequences. i say the people who caused the crisis and can afford to do more should do more: with a higher bank levy allowing us to do more to protect the services and entitlements on which families depend. and we should learn the basic lessons of history. after 1945, we had the biggest debt we have ever had.
that generation cut the deficit but they had a bigger vision: for a new economy and a good society. true patriotism is about reducing the debt burden we pass on to our kids. but mr. cameron, true patriotism is also about building an economy and a society fit for our kids to work and live in. you were the optimist once but now all you offer is a miserable, pessimistic view of what we can achieve. and you hide behind the deficit to justify it. but i have a different ambition, to emerge from the global economic crisis tackling the deficit, but also learning the much deeper lessons that this generation must learn. this generation must learn.